Financial disclosures can be such pesky things for folks in the political limelight.
What a relief, then, to avoid them altogether, like Burson Taylor Snyder, deputy chief of staff to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), is doing. Her husband, Pete Snyder, just announced that he is running for lieutenant governor of Virginia.
Like any candidate, he might prefer to keep personal details close to the vest as long as he can — though he’ll eventually have to fill out a candidate’s disclosure form — particularly since, as one of the founders of GOP firm New Media Strategies, he’s likely worth millions (according to a 2007 form his wife filed as a House staffer, his stake in the company was worth $5-$25 million).
Under Senate ethics rules, Snyder would have been required to file another financial disclosure form — which also would list her husband’s assets and income, possibly including those associated with his investment firm Disruptor Capital — if she made more than $119,554.
But with a salary under the minimum — just barely — she avoids the reporting requirement. According to salary-tracking service Legistorm, she pulled down $119,552.88 from April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012, and appears on track to make that same amount in calendar year 2012, though the pay records aren’t yet available.
That’s exactly $1.12 (you can barely buy a pack of gum for less than that!) under the bar for disclosure. Coincidence?
Snyder wouldn’t comment.
But it seems that figure might make her underpaid, at least according to some measures. Her counterpart in the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), for example, makes a cool $133,000 annually, and her predecessor in Blunt’s office made even more than that, around $160,000 a year.
Snyder would hardly be pioneering new territory here. “We’ve seen this process before,” says Jock Friedly, Legistorm’s president and founder. “A lot of people would rather not disclose if they don’t have to.”
Such disclosures have proven politically embarrassing, like when House records on Callista Gingrich’s finances revealed that she and hubby Newt Gingrich had a line of credit at Tiffany’s.
So when it comes to revealing information that could be used by political foes, it seems less really is more.